Should you have the right to protect yourself or should you rely on the government to do it for you? With today's ever-increasing encroachment upon our right to self-govern and bare arms, and with the anti-gun slant of mass media, the subject of guns, even as home defense weapons, has never been more contentious. Even in the world of preppers, who are more independant than most, there are still some out there who adamantly refuse to even consider a gun, and many of those who do, buy them but never learn how to use them properly or practice sufficiently. This is a mistake. If you're a prepper, or are just learning how to get ready in case of a localized natural disaster (I have news for you: you're a prepper), the subject of adequate security has to be addressed – OPSEC isn't enough. As I've written in several articles, OPSEC doesn't mean not showing anyone anything or doing anything that gives you away. You have to balance protection with living in the real world. That means that at some point, someone somewhere is going to find out what you have. If they're desperate, they're going to try to take it from you. Even in the everyday world, there is a segment of society who will go the easy route and take what you have, and there's not much easier than taking something from someone who can't defend it. Unfortunately there is the consideration that you may live in a place that has usurped your rights and told you that you can't have a gun to protect yourself. I would never live in a place like that. Funny that those are also the same places that have the most violent crimes. If you happen to stay in such a place and are going to follow the law, well good luck. I think it's ridiculous that people can't keep home defense weapons. It comes down to having a plan. If you've collected a good supply of food, medicine, livestock, and equipment, and someone somehow figures out that you have it, what exactly will you do if they come to take it? Do you have an actual plan for that? Do you have enough training and experience to know that your plan is gonna work? I can pretty much guarantee you that if you've developed a plan to protect yourself and your family against an armed assailant, and it doesn't involve a gun in some way, that you definitely don't have the training or experience to be making this plan. For the rest of you who have the ability to own a gun and still don't, I don't know if you've really thought this through. If you've been a prepper for more than a day, you know that you are in the minority. There are many more people out there who don't stock food, water, medicine and other supplies that could not only make things more comfortable in a disaster or TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) scenario, those things could save their lives. You don't really have to use a weapon to defend your home, but wouldn't you want to have the choice if someone broke in? When disaster strikes, bad guys don't get better – they get worse. Add to that the majority of people who didn't plan ahead who have a family. Is there anything you wouldn't do for your family if they were dehydrated and starving? Where do you think they're gonna go if things go South? If you haven't seen the news about what happened during the aftermath of Katrina, you need to read this sobering report from POLICE Magazine. Here's a quote from the article: Col. David Hunt, a military analyst, was quoted from his appearance on FOX News' "The O'Reilly Factor" program on Sept. 16, saying "It was as bad as the early days in Baghdad." The gangs fought for turf in the deserted, flooded streets of the city for six days, terrorizing those left behind and looting shops, jewelry stores, museums, and banks. Now imagine if the emergency situation would have been more widespread or would have lasted more than six days? Do you still think your food, water, generator and family would be safe? If you know anything about the psychology of predators, they almost always go for the weakest and easiest target. It's that way with animals and you have to consider people like this that way: animals. When I was a security advisor in Northern Uganda, we had a lot of NGO's (Non-Government Organizations) that were working in some of the safer areas. NGO's are the groups that go over to other countries and do things like fix wells or build schools. Good people but somewhat lacking in the tactical department. A lot of them had a sticker on the side of their vehicle that showed an AK-47 with a line through it, denoting that they had no weapons, in the misguided assumption that if the rebels or various thugs saw they weren't armed that they would be left alone. Time and time again they kept getting attacked. My partner and I had the same type of vehicle that they did – sans stupid liberal sticker – and we never got attacked even though we went to more dangerous areas than most of the NGO's did. What does this have to do with anything? If you're in survival mode and someone sees you as an easy target, criminals are going to go after you first. If you're pushed and show that you're not one of the sheep, in a lot of cases, they'll move on to something else instead of risking getting hurt or killed. Not always, but hey, if you run into those guys, not having a weapon would be no benefit. The only way I can see that you wouldn't need to worry about having weapons in a SHTF scenario is if you happen to have an impenetrable fortress such as an underground missile silo home with some added protection, and enough supplies that you don't ever have to come out until the situation is over. You also have to be in your fortress when things go South. Other than that, you have to at least consider the fact that you may have to protect what you have and who you have someday. Defending your home without a weapon, against others who have a weapon, is kinda stupid. Having a home defense or self defense weapon is similar to having a fire extinguisher. All the alarms in the world might let you know something's going on but if you couldn't afford to wait for a fire truck to get you out of a burning home, you have to save yourself. It won't solve everything but it may save your life. It basically comes down to this: The more prepping you do, the more you're going to have that others will want if SHTF. If you really think that you're going to be able to talk your way out of someone coming to your house to take that stuff when they need it to survive, then you're an idiot. I'm sure they'll be very appreciative that you've collected all that stuff in one place for them. Heck, they might not even have to move it if your place is better than theirs. No amount of high-Karachi ninja judo chop shit is gonna stop a guy with a gun unless you're very well trained and he's stupid enough to get within a few feet of you – and doesn't have anyone else with him. I'm not saying don't learn how to fight – you definitely should – just that a gun is a definite combat multiplier. One guy with a gun can easily fend off several without in most cases. It comes down to having an adequate plan. Prepping isn't just buying stuff to keep in a bugout bag. It's about planning. That being said, if you're not trained by the military or police, or haven't spent a lot of time hunting with your family that know guns well, you shouldn't just up and head to a gunstore to grab your new AK-47. Guns, just like cars, can be dangerous if you don't have adequate training and common sense. Alabama hunter Safety CourseThere are several options for learning how to properly store, handle, clean and use a gun. Since you may be considering using a weapon for hunting as well as self-defense, one of the best options for you may be a hunter's safety course. One interesting thing I came across is the Alabama Hunter Safety Course. They have an interactive course you can take on the computer and then schedule a Field Day with them for the practical part. Don't consider anything that doesn't involve you, an instructor, and a weapon that you will actually fire. Whatever you're planning to get you up-to-speed with weapons, you need to have someone show you the basics, and you can't do it from a book or by reading a freaking blog. Go shooting with someone who knows what they're doing or even better, take a class. Once you understand the basic rules of firearms… Always treat all firearms as if they were loaded. Never allow the muzzle of any firearm to point at anything you are not willing to destroy. Never put your finger near the trigger until you are ready to fire. Do not depend on any mechanical device for safety! Always be sure of your target, and what is behind and in front of it. …you should be good to go for practicing on your own. I'd suggest going to an indoor firing range if possible, especially for pistols. It may cost a few bucks more than an outdoor range but because they usually have a mechanical target that you can pull back to you, and you don't have to stop the range every few minutes for everyone else, you can get a lot more shooting in for the day. I'd also suggest finding a friend who's familiar with guns to go with you. There are a LOT of veterans who'd just love to go shooting for the day. Once you learn the basics, you need to practice. You don't want to wait until you're facing a threat to figure out where the safety is. Warrior School tactical trainingIf you REALLY want to learn something, there are a few places around the country that can give you government-level training. I'm lucky enough to have friends who work at these places. One of my friends who used to be in my unit is Mike Kase: Ranger qualified badass instructor. He happens to work at Warrior School here in Arizona. He suggests that the 4 Day Pistol Training Course would be a good choice for someone to get a real good grasp of the basics. They have a lot of other courses too so they can pretty much teach you everything you or your group could ever want to know about anything tactical. If you want more personal lessons, much like the best little restaurants, there are hidden gems out there for learning how to defend yourself with weapons. I have a retired SF friend named Al, who I've had the pleasure of working with on a few gigs in the past. He's set up shop in Colorado now teaching pretty much anything you could ever want to know about pretty much anything that a Special Forces Soldier would ever run across. He's just one of those guys. Just don't try to out-drink him or do combatives while you do it – just sayin'. If you have little to no experience, he can teach you the NRA Basic Pistol Course, which by itself, allows most people to satisfy the minimum requisite training requirement for a concealed carry license. You'd have to check your own laws to see if it'd work for you. Even if it doesn't, you'll walk away with a very good foundation. Whether you've never shot a weapon before or even if you're an experienced operator, you'll definitely leave his lessons with a different perspective. I'll have more information about what he offers later but suffice it to say that he can piece together courses to fit whatever you'd need. He can even travel to your location if you work it into his schedule. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you think it through and do it right. Protecting you and yours shouldn't be taken lightly.